On a beautiful fall day in 1994 we decided to take the cog train to the top of the Zugspitze – the tallest mountain in Germany at 2,962 meters tall – and this is a picture of the Eibsee from the window of the cog train on the way up to the top of the Zugspitze.
The cog train travels through a tunnel in the solid rock of the Zugspitze for the final leg of the journey to the top, and completes the trip at the building shown on the cliff across from where David is standing in the snow.
The top of the Zugspitze is actually a bowl of solid rock carved out of the top of the mountain, where a glacier provides skiing for much of the year and hiking when the snow levels are too low for skiing – in this picture David stands on a chunk of rock near the base of the bowl.
From the cog train building to the left of David in this picture, you can take the chair lift down to the base of the bowl where the ski lifts begin for skiing – or take a different chair lift to the very top observation post on the peak to the right of David.
At the base of the bowl on top of the Zugspitze is this ski café where skiers – or day hikers in the summer – can relax in the sunshine and crisp mountain air with all they could want to eat and drink.
David blinked during this photo while standing below the little Chapel that is part of the facilities in the Zugspitze ski bowl on top of the mountain.
David and I stand in front of the café on top of the Zugspitze on the most beautiful October day that could be imagined in the Alps – this was as good as it gets.
A panorama of mountain peaks provides the backdrop behind David – the amazing thing about being in the high Alps is that there are mountain peaks as far as you can see to the east, south and west from the Zugspitze.
At this point we were ready to climb up the glacier to the top of the ski bowl and look down into the Austrian valley on the far side of the Zugspitze – crossing the “border” between Germany and Austria in the process.
The glacier is actually a snowfield that lasts most of the year on top of the Zugspitze, and isn’t like what one would expect with crevasses – but a gentle slope that makes for a nice hike on a beautiful autumn day in the Alps – here David stands in front of endless mountain peaks.
There were quite a few like minded day hikers on top of the Zugspitze the day we visited – and everyone knows that a day like this one with perfect weather is the best day to go up into the Alpine peaks.
As we hike up through the snow field you can tell that it has been snowing recently, because all of the cracks in the mountain’s exposed rock are full of wind blown snow – and it won’t be long before the rocks are covered in fresh snow and the ski season will open again.
If you click on the picture and expand it, you will see that beyond David, the little dots in the snow are actually hikers walking across the snow field to reach the far side – which allows for a beautiful panorama of Austria.
As David makes his way through the snow at the start of our climb to the top, it is amazing that all the structures and tunnels were constructed here on top of the Zugspitze – it isn’t an easy location for building up here!
Another picture of David with endless mountain peaks in the distance, along with hikers crossing the snow field – the skiing isn’t difficult here in the winter, but it can get icy and very windy on the exposed slopes.
Alpine peaks are very jagged like shark’s teeth, which makes them all the more impressive to look at – snow covered or not – and you can see how the ski slopes on the Zugspitze are for the most part gentle and smooth in sort of a bowl on top of the mountain.
The hike across the snow field isn’t terribly difficult, but it is a good distance to travel in the snow even with a path to follow – so when you go make sure you’re dressed for the occasion with warm clothes and good footwear – and remember the weather can turn bad without any notice or warning.
This is the back ridge of the Zugspitze where the mountain literally goes straight down a tremendous rock face to the valley far below – and from this observation point you have a beautiful view of Austria.
The camera catches David in the middle of a blink while standing along the railing where the mountain drops away and reveals the beautiful Austrian valley far below us.
The view from the top of the Zugspitze overlooks the Austrian town of Ehrwald and the valley beyond it – and the Austrian Alps in this view is as beautiful a view as you’ll ever find.
This is the view looking straight down the cliff face on the back side of the Zugspitze, and to put it all into perspective just realize that the dots in the picture are actually trees leading down into the valley below.